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Peter Howitt
Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Michael Sheen, Parker Posey, Frances Fisher, Nora Dunn, Heather Ann Nurnberg, Johnny Myers
Writing Credits:
Aline Brosh McKenna, Robert Harling

Love always has the last word.

Get ready to fall in love with the year's wittiest romantic comedy! Can two high-powered divorce attorneys make it as man and wife? Find out with the romance that proves that love always gets the last word.

Box Office:
$28 million.
Opening Weekend
$6.728 million on 2449 screens.
Domestic Gross
$17.848 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Fullscreen 1.33:1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby 2.0

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $27.95
Release Date: 8/24/2004

• Deleted Scenes
• Trailers


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Laws Of Attraction (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 16, 2004)

Here’s a cinematic oddity for you: a romantic comedy in which the lead actress isn’t radically younger than the leading man! In 2004’s Laws of Attraction, we meet active attorney Audrey Woods (43-year-old Julianne Moore) who claims she’s too busy to date and resists the pestering of her youth-obsessed mother Sara (Frances Fisher) to get back into the romantic pool. She’s a divorce lawyer who specializes in finding the dirt and raking in the money for her wealthy clients.

While she handles a case, she meets a new rival in Daniel Rafferty (51-year-old Pierce Brosnan). When they see him in the courtroom, they observe him napping, which doesn’t set him up as a potent opponent. His casual manner perplexes the meticulous and anal Audrey, who declares him “insane”. He proves better prepared and wilier than she thought, and he humiliates her in court.

Audrey doesn’t understand the messy world of Daniel, and as they continue to cross paths, he perplexes her more and more. She denies attraction to Daniel and plans to ream him in court. After all his mind games on her, she attempts to turn the tables on him. Inevitably, this fails to succeed, and when he makes her take him out to dinner, he continues to get under her skin, especially when he strikes a nerve about her non-dating.

After an alcohol-filled evening, Audrey succumbs to Daniel’s roguish charms. Of course, she immediately regrets this, especially because it allows Daniel the advantage when they go to court the next morning. He uses some devious tactics to defeat her, which provokes her ire further. Audrey continues to battle the notion that she finds Daniel attractive, though.

Sara drags Audrey to a concert by the Needles, a successful band who just signed a lucrative contract. When Audrey flees this raucous experience, she runs into prominent fashion designer Serena (Parker Posey), the wife of Needles singer Thorne Jamison (Michael Sheen). Serena’s had it with Thorne and wants to divorce him, so Audrey pushes to take on the case.

Serena initially agrees, but this gets complicated when she changes her mind and hires Daniel as her attorney. Audrey turns the tables and goes after Thorne as a client. She succeeds, which sets up the Thorne/Serena divorce as the film’s focal point, a battle that concentrates on the ownership of the Irish castle. In addition, we also watch the continued antagonistic romance between Audrey and Daniel.

We’ve seen many a movie like Laws, so don’t expect anything terribly creative and original here. That doesn’t make it an unpleasant experience, as Laws mostly seems enjoyable and amusing.

Most of the credit goes to the cast. The roster includes some fine performers, and all of them offer nice work. The key to the film’s success revolves around the interaction between Moore and Brosnan, and they exhibit terrific chemistry together. Their characters take a while to evolve beyond basic stereotypes - she’s Felix and he’s Oscar - but the actors make them fun and amusing, and they help turn otherwise fairly banal sequences into enjoyable ones.

Posey and Sheen also make the most of their supporting parts. Both go for a broad and cartoony tone, especially in the case of Sheen, who clearly used Spinal Tap as his sole research for the role. The pair go over the top, but in an entertaining manner.

Is there much else to recommend in Laws beyond the appeal of the actors? Not really. They receive some spiffy lines on occasion, but the banter never reaches Howard Hawks levels. In general, Laws provides a generally predictable story executed without much to make it stand out from the crowd.

Other than the actors, of course, who enable Laws of Attraction to become something above average. We’ve seen most of it before, but it nonetheless offers an acceptably charming and amusing experience.

The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C-

Laws of Attraction appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 and in a fullscreen version on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. Laws provided a generally solid picture.

Sharpness seemed good. The movie usually appeared crisp and well-defined, though I noticed some slight instances of softness. Those instances mainly popped up in wider shots. Moiré effects and jagged edges caused no issues, but I did see some mild edge enhancement at times. The movie lacked any issues with print flaws, as I noticed no signs of specks, marks, or other defects.

Colors presented a highlight of the image. The movie used a nicely naturalistic palette, and the DVD replicated those tones well. The hues seemed lively and vibrant, as they remained clean and distinct at all times. Black levels also appeared deep and rich, while shadow detail was appropriately dense but not overly opaque. Ultimately, the picture of Laws mainly looked strong.

Most comedies maintain subdued soundtracks, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix of Laws of Attraction fell into that category. The soundfield remained heavily anchored in the front realm. The forward channels provided decent stereo imaging for music and effects, as sounds appeared in the appropriate locations and blended together efficiently. Not a lot of movement occurred across the speakers, but the mix seemed reasonably well integrated nonetheless. As for the surrounds, they offered light reinforcement of music and effects for the most part. They came to life more vividly on a few occasions, such as at the Needles concert, but not much occurred most of the time.

Although the soundfield seemed bland, the quality of the audio helped compensate for any shortcomings. Dialogue appeared consistently natural and distinct, and I detected no problems related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects played a minor role in the film, but they sounded accurate and clean, with reasonable presence and no signs of distortion. Music worked fairly well, as the score presented good clarity. Highs seemed crisp and bright, while bass was acceptably rich and warm. In the end, the audio was nothing special, but it suited the film well.

Only a minor complement of extras fills out the DVD. The big attraction comes from the set of six deleted/alternate scenes. These run between 57 seconds and four minutes, 28 seconds for a total of 17 minutes, 45 seconds of material. Presented in the order they’d have appeared in the movie, we start with three scenes from Ireland and then progress through some from after their return all the way through an alternate ending. These fill out some existing information and particularly expand on Daniel’s past, which makes them interesting but not anything unusually compelling. The final one presents outtakes from the MTV’s Cribs feature that featured Thorne and Serena. In a nice touch, all of them come 2.35:1 with anamorphic enhancement and Dolby 5.1 audio; they even toss in English and Spanish subtitles!

In addition to two trailers for Laws, “More from New Line” offers a few other ads. We get promos for The Notebook, Unconditional Love, and Elf. Finally, the set concludes with some DVD-ROM features. The “Image Gallery” includes 48 shots; we see a few posed publicity photos, but most demonstrate scenes from the film. “Script to Screen” lets you read the original script while you watch the movie; the video runs in a small screen on the left as the text displays on the right half of the screen. We get a link to the movie’s “Original Website” as well as the New Line homepage.

Some movies succeed despite their actors, whereas others need good performances to prosper. Laws of Attraction falls into the latter category, as the movie would be banal and bland without the nice work of its cast. The DVD presents very good picture with adequate audio and a small set of supplements highlighted by some deleted scenes. Laws isn’t a strong enough movie or DVD to merit a purchase, but it’d make for a nice date night rental.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.2 Stars Number of Votes: 15
4 3:
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